Sunday, 29 November 2009

... And Relax

Well, I guess there's something to celebrate for the Squirrels after what has turned out to be the most tense couple of weeks of the season. Saturday's 1-1 draw with Kashiwa Reysol which confirmed Ardija's place in J1 for 2010 was not the best advertisement for J-League football - the first half in particular featured two teams playing too quickly and nervously to get the ball under proper control. Omiya started the second half much better, but an obviously determined Reysol fought back and put an at times shaky Koji Ezumi under pressure.

Nevertheless, Rafael made some good progress against a physical Kashiwa defence and when he chested the ball down for inrushing Hayato Hashimoto to fire home, it looked like this was to be the game's decisive moment. But barely ninety seconds later, with the Sun Kings desperate to find any possible gaps in the Squirrels defence that would allow them back into the match, Franca located precisely such a gap between Ezumi and near post and Kashiwa were level.

Ardija had only themselves to blame, as it must have been obvious that such a lapse in concentration would be punished by an in-form player. Nevertheless, despite the best efforts of Nelsinho and of the visiting supporters, Omiya held firm for the remainder of the ninety minutes. Hardly a classic - it was never going to be - and although Rafael will probably have nightmares about a missed chance just a few minutes before Hashimoto's goal, a draw was probably fair result. Of course, a draw is all that was needed.



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